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Cyclist vs. Bicyclist

Old 02-09-08, 04:46 PM
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xcapekey
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Cyclist vs. Bicyclist

Hey everyone...I need your opinion. I'm part of a group that is starting a bike advocacy group in my city and we're hoping to target commuters and utilitarian riders. We're having some issues with the wording of the mission statement....

Some people prefer the word "cyclist", but many feel that it connotes too elite a rider (lycra, carbon fiber, etc.,) and doesn't sound inviting enough to casual and transportation riders.

What are your thoughts? I know it's splitting hairs but I'd like to see what people think.

Do you consider yourself a "cyclist" or "bicyclist"?
Does either word have a specific connotation for you?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-09-08, 04:54 PM
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cyclist - anyone that uses a ride on form of transport, e.g., bicycle, tricycle, motorcycle, recumbent.

bicyclist - kind of limits it to a two wheeled, human powered,.....etc

what about "pedal cycle"?
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Old 02-09-08, 04:55 PM
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I consider myself a wheelman.
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Old 02-09-08, 05:00 PM
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I think as a budding advocacy group you'll want as much attention as you can get. If you want to play it safe try something to the tune of "our goal is to help grow a bicycling community", or something along those lines. Try to get rid of the words that you feel have a connotation to them. Personally my goal would just be to find something friendly all around, even if it sounds slightly silly. On another note some "elite" riders love giving/throwing money away, so shunning them might not prove very lucrative.
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Old 02-09-08, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by markhr View Post
cyclist - anyone that uses a ride on form of transport, e.g., bicycle, tricycle, motorcycle, recumbent.

bicyclist - kind of limits it to a two wheeled, human powered,.....etc
I agree with the description above about the distinction b/t the two terms. In my group of peers, which include motorcycle riders, I have to state that I'm a bicyclist or went bicycling to avoid confusion.
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Old 02-09-08, 05:50 PM
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Some people are waaay over thinking this.
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Old 02-09-08, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
Some people are waaay over thinking this.
clearly you put a lot of thought into that
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Old 02-09-08, 06:00 PM
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If you're targeting commuters, then clearly the proper term is Fred.
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Old 02-09-08, 06:02 PM
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Bicycle user.
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Old 02-09-08, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by markhr View Post
cyclist - anyone that uses a ride on form of transport, e.g., bicycle, tricycle, motorcycle, recumbent.

bicyclist - kind of limits it to a two wheeled, human powered,.....etc

what about "pedal cycle"?
Agreed.
To me, "cyclist" in referring to someone someone who is riding or does ride a bicycle, is simply a contraction of "bicyclist". Properly written: " 'cyclist ". Popular use spoke or written: " cyclist ".

Another example:
Proper spoken or written:
"A handlebar mounted accessory."
More casual spoken:
"A bar mounted accessory."
More casual written:
"A 'bar mounted accessory."

The apostrophe shows that something got left out. The year is '08.

To answer the question:
"Bicyclist" is more proper, I would go with that. Particularly for something I wanted to be taken seriously.
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Old 02-09-08, 06:11 PM
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Old 02-09-08, 06:14 PM
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Old 02-09-08, 06:30 PM
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I consider myself a bicyclist.

A cyclist in my opinion is more like this guy!

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Old 02-09-08, 06:38 PM
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"alternative transportationist" ?
When I write letters to authoritative figures to
throw away immediately upon receipt I include
pedestrian concerns too because we are all in the same boat...
ie; we all suffer the same nonsense by not being car oriented.
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Old 02-09-08, 08:26 PM
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Anything but "biker".
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Old 02-09-08, 09:32 PM
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Is this what advocacy groups debate on during their meetings? No wonder nothing gets done.
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Old 02-09-08, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by xcapekey View Post
Do you consider yourself a "cyclist" or "bicyclist"?
Does either word have a specific connotation for you?

Thanks in advance!

Cyclist is just an informal contraction of bicyclist. But it's better than Gutterbunny.

I'm part of the local cycle advocacy group and we call ourselves the
Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas. So we are bicyclists.
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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

Last edited by Artkansas; 02-09-08 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 02-09-08, 10:58 PM
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If I tell someone I went on a "cycling trip", many times they ask "bicycle or motorcycle"? That may because I tend to mention distances like 100 miles, 160 miles, weeklong trip of 500 miles, etc. That is out of the comprehension of most non-riders so they assume motorcycle. In any case, if it is a commuting and bicycling advocacy group, I would use the word 'bicyclist'.

On the other hand... you would be surprised how much support you would get from the weekend warrior crowd because they face many of the same safety and perception issues that us non-motorized two-wheeled types do. I have some non-bicycling friends who are cycling members of A.B.A.T.E. and our conversations are strikingly similar.

As for veloist... I like it myself, but that's far more elite sounding than any of the other terms.
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Old 02-09-08, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
Anything but "biker".
+1 To be referred to as a 'biker' usually means motorcycle. Harley's, Gold Wings, etc. 'Bicyclist' in general and 'cyclist' in particular, ie 'road cyclist', 'off-road cyclist', 'downhill cyclist', 'touring cyclist', 'utility cyclist', etc. Of course, I've been a 'commuter cyclist' for over 20 years, but didn't know that until about 5 years ago. Up until then I just 'rode my bike to work'.
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Old 02-10-08, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by markhr View Post
what about "pedal cycle"?
Pedal Cycle? Ummmm, I guess it's better then calling yourself a pedalphile.
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Old 02-10-08, 01:38 AM
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Old 02-10-08, 02:02 AM
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I'm involved with with advocacy groups here and there and through the experience have learned that most "everyday" people do not think of themselves as "cyclists". The term to them only applies to professionals and people more serious than they are; I guess its too aggressive of a term for them.
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Old 02-10-08, 04:00 AM
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My only reservation about 'Bicyclist' comes from riding a distance unicycle around town. When you speak to 'Bicyclists', are you excluding those on recumbent trikes, unicycles, and other HPV's which do not have exactly two wheels?
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Old 02-10-08, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Upthebikes610 View Post
On another note some "elite" riders love giving/throwing money away, so shunning them might not prove very lucrative.
Really? Besides on themselves and their own equipment? I am surprised and would like to be enlightened about this surprising statement.
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Old 02-10-08, 06:53 AM
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It's perfectly simple, really.

A bicyclist wears tweed plus fours and cap and rides a high wheeler.

A cyclist wears anything suitable, from a skirt to shorts/tights, from a sweater/lycra top, from a flowery hat/helmet and rides something which descended from Starley's original safety cycle.

Did the discussion render any of participants comatose?

Final squash? Bureaucrats use the word bicylists. If you use it, you will have lost half of the battle from the start.
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